Sunday, April 18, 2021

The only way to stop the war in Donbass

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been in constant contact with Western leaders in recent days, sees NATO Requesting admission.

Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg telephoned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to express his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the North Atlantic Alliance.

Meanwhile, intense shootings in the conflict zone of eastern Ukraine have not stopped. According to the Ukrainian army, on April 6, another Ukrainian soldier was killed in an attack by separatist militant positions in Donbas.

Russia has used all the tools of hybrid warfare against Ukraine: provocation, demonstration of force, disinformation and sabotage.

Russian reconnaissance drones on the front line

Despite the deployment of diplomatic lines by Ukraine, intense shootings continue in the conflict zone of eastern Ukraine, where Russian hybrid forces from the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Lugansk killed at least eight Ukrainian servicemen in March and April.

The last loss in the form of one killed soldier was suffered on April 6 by the operational-tactical group “Vostok” (East) of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

“Today, April 6, the enemy in the area of ​​responsibility of the operative-tactical group” Vostok “(recently the Ukrainian media refers to them directly as the armed formation of the Russian Federation. Ed.) Once again violated the ceasefire and fired on Ukrainian defenders near the settlement of Nevel. One Ukrainian defender was wounded in a mortar shell fired by the enemy. “The fighter was operatively provided with medical assistance, but, unfortunately, he died during the evacuation.” – It is said in the note of the Ukrainian military command.

The film crew of the Ukrainian service of Radio Liberty was on a business trip in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine in the Krasnagorivka district center, which is divided by the front line. As the commander of the Ukrainian 28th Brigade stationed in this area, Maxim Marchenko, told our colleagues, he corrects sniper fire from enemy grenades and machine guns with unmanned aerial vehicles.

In addition, Russian drones armed with separatists appear in the sky at the same time as the OSCE mission drones are being monitored. Clearly, this is done in order to provoke the Ukrainian soldiers to do so. წ. “Friendly Fire” at the address of the OSCE drones.

At the same time, Russian drones transmit intelligence to snipers about the deployment of Ukrainian troops. According to Maxim Marchenko, these are representatives of local separatist formations, as well as professionals invited from Russia.

The transfer of spies and snipers from Russia was also mentioned in the report made by the Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces last week at the tribune of the Verkhovna Rada in Ukraine.

According to General Ruslan Khomchak, the Russian military is constantly provoking Ukrainian soldiers, firing on their positions from populated areas, critical infrastructure, as well as cultural and religious sites.

“Russia will not even be able to react”

But, in turn, the so-called. The armed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic accuse the Ukrainian Armed Forces of opening fire.

Moreover, while Ukraine and the Collective West are talking about escalation on the part of Russia, the main topic of discussion of pro-Russian information resources operating in the Donbas area beyond Kiev’s control is “the impending attack from Ukraine.” With this non-existent threat, the Russian hybrid forces are trying to cover up the decline in living standards in the separatist-held Donbass areas, the difficult epidemiological situation, the drop in drug supplies and the ban on traffic at checkpoints connecting Ukraine.

For almost two months now, local hybrid forces have been showing people living in separate areas of Donetsk and Luhansk with footage of the movement of Ukrainian weapons and military equipment, providing information on modern weapons and equipment acquired through cooperation with Western defense partners. Especially often shown is the Turkish-made unmanned aerial vehicle “Bayrakhtar”, which was effectively used by the Azerbaijani army in the last 44-day war with Armenia around Karabakh.

As for the expected so-called According to Sturm, according to the Russian hybrid forces, the Ukrainian armed forces will launch a direct attack on Donetsk and Lugansk, and at the same time, it will happen so fast that Russia will not even be able to respond.

Kiev rejects any counterattack plan, especially since it was initiated by the Ukrainian authorities to sign another agreement on “complete and comprehensive ceasefire” in eastern Ukraine, which entered into force on July 27, 2020.

According to the Ukrainian command, it is Russia that concentrates its troops on the Ukrainian border and in annexed Crimea.

This information is also confirmed by independent sources.

New evidence of the smuggling of Russian military equipment across the Ukrainian border has been released by the Conflict Intelligence Team, which says several battalions of the elite Pskov Airborne Division were brought from Russia to annexed Crimea.

“We see that part of the equipment is being loaded near Kharkov, in Voronezh and Belgorod districts. In addition, important equipment is headed to the Crimea. Part of the moving equipment near Rostov Oblast may deviate in the direction of Matveev-Kurgan or elsewhere. So far, we have clearly not seen Russian military equipment cross the border into the territories of the unrecognized “republics” (part of the occupied territory of Donbass, ed.). “Military equipment is mainly concentrated near Kharkov, on the Russian border and in Crimea.”– Ruslan Leviev, the founder of the Conflict Intelligence Team, told Nastoyashche Vremya, a joint Russian-language TV channel of VOA and Radio Liberty.

In the hope of helping the collective West

But if Russian military equipment grouped near the Ukrainian border crosses the border, then it will be too late. That is why the Ukrainian government is trying to activate all diplomatic channels to avoid the impending Russian aggression, and in this Kiev, first of all, hopes for a collective West.

In addition to the United States and the European Union, the Secretary-General of NATO expressed concern on April 6 about the situation in and around Ukraine. Jens Stoltenberg telephoned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and reaffirmed the North Atlantic Alliance’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“I called on President Zelensky to express his grave concern over Russia’s military action in and around Ukraine, as well as the violation of the ceasefire. NATO strongly supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We continue to support our close partnership “, – wrote Jens Stoltenberg on Twitter.

This is a standard phrase of the NATO leadership regarding the crisis situation in the partner country, which is well remembered in Georgia during the August 2008 Russian war. But both the Georgian government 13 years ago and today’s Ukraine, which faces impending Russian aggression, and its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, need more effective support from the North Atlantic Alliance.

On April 6, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the only way to end the ongoing war in the Donbas was for Ukraine to join NATO, and addressed the NATO Secretary General directly with a request for a Membership Action Plan (MAP).

“Mr. Stoltenberg, we are committed to our military and defense reforms, but we will not be able to stop Russia with reforms alone. NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbas. “A real signal for Russia will be to give Ukraine a MAP (Action Plan for Accession to the Alliance).”, – writes Volodymyr Zelensky in a Twitter message to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The NATO Secretary General did not respond to a request for comment. In addition, the issue of granting a Membership Action Plan to a partner country is decided by consensus by the leaders of NATO member states and not by the NATO Secretary General. For reference: both Ukraine and Georgia have been waiting for the adoption of this long-awaited MAP since the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest.

“If we talk about any analogy with 2008, when Ukraine and Georgia failed to get the MAP, and then Georgia became a victim of Russian aggression, we must understand that the MAP is not a magic wand or a panacea that will immediately protect Ukraine from Russian aggression. Russia’s full membership in NATO, which will take several years to achieve, can protect against Russian aggression. “Today, it is impossible to talk about NATO membership in the near future.”– says Evhen Magda, director of the World Policy Institute in Kiev, who shares the thesis that victory in a hybrid war with Russia requires NATO membership.

“But we must understand that today the West may not go further than that for Ukraine and Georgia. Unfortunately, it is a well-known ‘expression of deep concern’, while for Ukraine and Georgia, smart training is an important element of Russia’s foreign policy program.”

Such an aggressive foreign policy aspiration needs to be confronted by the collective West through united diplomatic efforts, and the military threat must be met by retaliatory military force.

“In the current situation, Ukraine should rely only on itself. The Armed Forces of Ukraine, compared to 2014, in my opinion, have seriously strengthened. And Russia knows this too. So I think we have a lot of difficult months ahead of us, because Russia manages to blackmail its neighbors, Russia manages to put pressure on them, and it manages to exploit the weaknesses of the collective West. “But I am convinced that Russia also understands quite well what a high price it will have to pay in case of aggression against Ukraine.”, – says Eugene Magda.

Some hints have already been made about this from both Washington and Brussels.

The US is ready to help Ukraine in the event of an escalation of Russian aggression. This was announced by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on April 1, during a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Andrei Taran.

The next day, April 2, US President Joe Biden spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart.

According to the White House, Joe Biden reaffirmed Volodymyr Zelensky’s “unwavering” US support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has responded to Russia’s attempt to escalate the situation in Ukraine and the movement of Russian troops along Ukraine’s borders.

Extremely concerned by such developments, Borel invited Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba to a meeting of the EU Council of Foreign Ministers on 19 April.

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